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Maddie Clifton murder 11/3/1998 Jacksonville, FL *8 year old girl killed and entombed in neighbor boy’s bed; 14 year old Josh Phillips convicted and sentenced to life in prison*

                       Maddie Clifton

Keep Maddie’s Memory Alive (a GREAT site)
Search For 8-Year-Old Lakewood Girl Ends In Tragedy (has alot of details, including a timeline)
Prosecution rests in trial of teen accused of killing neighbor girl
Jury finds Phillips guilty of first-degree murder
Teen gets life term in murder
Clifton murder inspired by porn?
Hearing Set On Retrial Of Maddie Clifton Murder (also has many links to archived stories)
THE MADDIE CLIFTON SAGA: Her killer fights back tears when asked about Maddie and her family

48 Hours: Why Did Josh Kill?
Killer Kids: Foul Ball & Framed



DC Number: J11775
Hair Color: BROWN
Eye Color: GRAY
Height: ”’
Weight: 197 lbs.
Birth Date: 03/17/1984
Initial Receipt Date: 08/26/1999
Current Facility: HARDEE C.I.
Current Custody: CLOSE
Current Release Date: SENTENCED TO LIFE


Current Prison Sentence History:
Offense Date Offense Sentence Date County Case No. Prison Sentence Length
11/03/1998 1ST DG MUR/PREMED. OR ATT. 08/20/1999 POLK 9904685 SENTENCED TO LIFE

Note: The offense descriptions are truncated and do not necessarily reflect the crime of conviction. Please refer to the court documents or the Florida Statutes for further information or definition.

Incarceration History:
Date In-Custody Date Out-of-Custody
08/26/1999 Currently Incarcerated


69 Responses

  1. This is just aweful. I’m so sick to my stomach. This poor family. I watched a video on the above link and its just aweful. My heart goes out to Maddies family. I’ll pray for you always.

  2. This is a sickening story. God bless Maddie’s family.
    I can’t believe that Josh’s mother is wanting his sentence reduced.

    Maddie died a cruel death and he should never get out.

  3. Does it get any worse than this? RIP Maddie.

  4. Ladies, this is just horrific. You can’t let your kids out of your sight anymore. Why would this mother want her sons sentence reduced? so they can live their lives in fear wondering when he’ll stick again. Keep him locked up!

  5. * stick s/b strike

  6. She has a web page dedicated to trying to get him out but I couldn’t find it earlier.. If I get time I will later on. I was on a page for juveniles that killed and read it about a month ago.
    It is not right to Maddie’s family. I don’t care if he was 14 he did it and then hid it so he knew better.


    Donna and Shauncey, There is the link I was talking about yesterday.

    You can also see more children that has murdered as well on this site.

  8. Reading this made me sick! My son Joseph A. G. Trottier was murdered by Craig Johnson December 22,2006 in Endicott New York. He was to be sentanced September 2008. But it was delayed so he could get married! Fine court system New York has. We the family who are left behind, have to wait until November 19,2008 to see my son Joseph’s murderer get justice. But to me, it’s not justice. As Craig gets 20 to life with the possiablity of parol. The bad thing is. My sons neighbor died because of smoke inhaliation! Craig set my son on fire! Craig was not charged with that murder!
    Sunny-Joseph A. G. Trottier’s MoM

  9. Sunny, I’m so sorry for your great loss. I pray God wraps his arms around you and your family. My heart hurts for you.
    No matter what this scum gets here on earth please know is afterlife will be one of torture for all eternity.

    Can I ask why he was not charged with your sons murder?

    I’m so sorry for you. I hope you get the justice you and your family deserve. Your in my thoughts and prayers.

  10. As the ex step father of Joshua Phillips, I’ve been privy to details that were never given to the pubic. I realised early on, in my marriage to Josh’s mother, that she ‘needed’ help, of any kind to help her son.

    She was extremely good at people management, using sympathy as her main tool. I lived with her so i know her very well. She is a very nice person, generally, but switches when it comes to Josh. She is very much like her son. They both know the negative press they’ve had and will do whatever to change that.

    I met with Paul Pinkham for a business lunch a few years back. He is a very good journalist but my opinion is he’s very supportive of Missy Phillips, (Josh’s mother) who prefers to be known as DUNFEE these days.

    I have read the autopsy reports, I have heard stories from Missy and her Josh. I know there is more to this dreadful case that was never revealed. It’s time for Josh to reveal the truth, for Maddie’s family.

    Missy has written the most disgusting words and absolute lies about me on the internet. She uses others to represent her or uses alias’s. Let that show you what kind of woman she is. Like mother, like son. She is a woman scorned – just because I couldn’t take her b/s anymore. How sad.

  11. I live in St. Augustine Florida hich is fairly close to where this happened. At the time I was 11 years old and I remember all the posters that were put up and her families search, I hoped so much she’d be found safe.
    But sadly that wasn’t the case. I remember my Mum picking me up from school and telling me that they had found her. I asked “Is she okay?” and my mum said no. It was so sad. I cried for Maddie.
    The one thing that sticks with me and why I’ve never forgotten her face or name, was that night I dreamnt of Maddie. I was in a large group of people: her family friends, the people who searched and prayed for her. Maddie stood infront of us dressed in white and said “Thank you”
    I’ve never forgotten that dream, even 10 years later. I’ve often wanted to someho tell her family what I dreamnt and that I know she’s up there in heaven, but was never able to. So if any of her friends or family read this, know Maddie is still rememberd.
    I like the Clifton family, am of the Catholic faith and I remember my Mum telling me about ST. Maria Goretti, the 11 year old italian girl who was stabbed I think 14 times by a 16 year old boy whose family lived with hers, when she refused to let him rape her. She was my conformation Saint and I know Maddie is up there with her.

  12. I knew maddie and her sister, we went to the same YMCA after school, we were all playmates. I still remember that day when i heard the news that maddie was found. i remember i was in class and our teacher came in and told us, it was the most shocking news i heard in my life i didn’t know exactly how it happend at first until i was with her family (aunt and cousins) around christmas when josh was up for trial again, he was trying to get his sentance reduced. what had happend was and will always be a horrific thing. My heart goes out to all of maddies family. She will NEVER be forgotten!!!!

  13. Women this has gone apsolutely to far its got to sieze. NOW! but how can we help R.I.P maddie

  14. My heart goes out to the family. I myself know what it is like to loose a child. My son was murdered March 19, 2005 during Spring Break at Daytona Beach Florida. The pain never goes away. The guy that killed my so never was charged for this. To know that he is still walking the streets to do this to someone else just kills me. Would it bring my son back no but it would make me feel better to know that he was paying for what he did. Anyone that kills someone should stay in prison. People that have not lost a child have no idea what it is like to even get out of bed each day. I have a 20 year old daughter that I see the hurt in her everyday. I saw her almost lose her mind because of her bother being killed, it is so not fair. She has a 2 yr old daughter and she tells her about her uncle John all the time. What maddies family went through know one should have to my though and prays will be with you…

  15. I don’t mean to say that the tragedy of anyone’s murder is less. I think Josh was horrible for what he did. But there is no way to know he would kill again. No one knows what anyone is thinking. One time does not make a life. Just because someone kills once doesn’t mean they will kill again. Josh should have been punished for what he did. There is no way around that. But do we have the right to say that because he took her life, he doesn’t deserve his? Only God can take away lives; none of us are God. We do not have the power or right to take away Josh’s.

    • Yes, we do have that power, since that is what the Criminal Justice system is for. And if you want to bring God into it, as you hear so often, eye for an eye, etc. The Bible says that man must obey the law of the land as well. So stop using God in this. This is a Criminal Justice issue, not a religious issue. If a person kills, they must suffer the consequences of what they do. The victim, not the killer, is the most important one here. Her life is what is important. When he killed her, he lost his future. Life in prison IS appropriate. Do you really think it is appropriate for him to murder her and then spend just a few years in prison and then go on with his life? Finish school, fall in love, get married, have children, etc.? Does the victim’s family get to enjoy that? They don’t.

      And how do you know he would not kill again? You don’t. Many who have killed and been released from prison kill again, even those that people say “he would never do that again”. But sometimes, a person just needs punishment for doing something so heinous. A slap on the wrist, especially in this case, is not appropriate. He needs to spend his life in prison (or if he is to get parole, after many many years, like over 40 years at least).

      If your loved one was murdered, you might feel differently. Life changes completely for the loved ones of murder victims. You can’t go back. Picking up the pieces is not easy and for some, may never happen. Some never heal. Your compassion should be for them, not the person who killed. That person will need to pay every day for the rest of his life, as does the victim’s loved ones have to.

  16. Josh knows just how wrong what he did is. He knows he deserves to be in prison for a very long time. He’s not asking to be let out now. He’s not asking for his conviction to be overturned. He’s not even asking for a guarantee that he’ll go free someday. He’s asking for the POSSIBILITY that someday in the distant future, he could walk free. And he deserves that. He was 14. He was afraid of his father. And while that may not be a good excuse for what he did, it is a valid point. He will not murder again. He made a mistake and he’s paying for it. The kid deserves a chance.

  17. excuse me 2nd chance…. you have to be joking????? why would you want to even take a chance????? maybe you would see thing defferent if this was your child…… you think prison made him a productive citizen

  18. I admire the strength that you guys have. I know that if someone EVER did that to my little one, I would be the one on the Fl Dept of Corrections website as an inmate on death-row.

    Im sorry, I just believe in the old testament where its states “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”.

    Let that bum ROT!! Maddie will never get the chance to go to a prom, kiss a boy, get married, go to college…she will miss everything and so will her parents. My heart and soul goes out to all the parents that have lost their little ones. God has all of them, and is keeping them safe.

  19. i agree with 2nd chance- he was 14!!!! i am 100% sure that if any parents were around she wouldve been rushed to the hospital and end of story. Josh had no priors, no violent outbreaks in school and wouldnt have killed given a more knowledgeable able adult could have been there or helped guide a child born to be scared of all consequences. you can tell he is not a killer, he probably wudve never killed or kill again given this unfortunate sequence of events. i blame the parents, both. watch your kids, know who and where they play.

  20. I cannot imagine losing a child and losing a child in this way is horrific. My heart goes out to Maddie’s family. My heart also goes out to Joshua’s family for having to endure what he did. But anyone reading this, please ask yourself: Am I the same person as I was as a 14-year old? Do I think the same way now? Anyone who has been a teenager and parented a teenager knows that their brains and thoughts are majorly screwed up. If this kid were even a few years older, I would have no problem with his sentence. But this was a boy that was terrified of what his father would do to him, had no violent history, and was ONLY 14. Would most kids make that choice, of course not! But does that mean a boy whos brain is not even fully developed should be punished as an adult? NO civilized country but the U.S. has ever tried any 14 year old as an adult! Our justice system is supposed to be about justice, not vengence. Also, those that quote the Bible verse, “…an eye for an eye…” need to reread that and understand the context of that verse. It does NOT mean that if you kill someone you should be killed. Without going into too much detail of the historical context of that verse, the intent was that the punishment for a crime should not exceed the crime itself. However, the verse that says, “Vengence is mine, saith the Lord” is pretty clear that we should not seek vengence. Life in prison for an adult committing this crime is justice, for a 14 year old boy it is vengence.

  21. I agree with you Maggie, but we have to face the facts, at 14, he knew that killing was wrong and against the law. When he hit her with the bat, he could have just told her sorry, give her food, or ice cream and than tel her parents it wasnt on purpose, instead, he took her life, you know what? If maddie was alive we probably would have been the same age group, because I think in 1998 I was 6 or 7. It’s sad, I feel really bad that a young girl didnt even live to see her high school graduation, or to have her first kiss, or to even go to college and experience what it really feels like to be a girl ND MOST IMPORTANTLY TO BE HUMAN. wHY MUST HE GO UNPUNISHED? he made his choice. I just turned 17. I know that killing is wayyyyyy too drastic and can lead to terrible things. I never met my father, he died last year. But I still have many demons im fighting as a teen, I was borned and raised in west africa, the center of war, terror, and an d many more. But yet and still I have learned to control myself.

    note from blog owner
    Your other comment will not be approved. It is completely inappropriate. Would you have said that to Maddie’s family to their face?

  22. What happened to maddie was soooo sad. I think Josh needs some mental help, not prison. I remember in an interview, Maddie’s own mother said she wants Josh to get out of prison one day and that she does not hate him, only what he did. Now if she does not want Josh to spend the rest of his life in prison, why should he? It won’t bring Maddie back. I think Josh should have a chance to make up for what he did.

    • Jen,

      It is up to the Criminal Justice system to make that decision, not the victim’s loved ones. If it were, then there would be so much vigilantism that we would no longer know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. I did not see that interview with Maddie’s mom, I remember her saying the opposite. But over time, that may have changed for her.

  23. I understand that it is the criminal justice system, but from my point of view, it seems as if Josh is serving a life sentence out of vengence instead of protecting the community. Maddie’s mother is such a strong woman to say that Josh should have his freedom. I believe it was a 2004 interview when Josh was 20. It’s on his website at

    • I do understand what you are saying, however, he is serving the sentence that he was given. When a person is sentenced, it is not a temporary sentence, just in case the person changes and becomes a better person. It is not vengenance. It is punishment. There is a difference. However, I believe he does have a chance at parole, which is what would be appropriate, not a change of sentence. He just might be an ideal candidate for parole.

  24. I have to agree with Jen. From his interviews, he seems like he is very sorry and I believe him. Hopefully one day, he will get his freedom.

  25. My heart always went out for Maddie’s parents! No matter how many years pass I understand that the pain will never heal! What happened was devastating!

    ..but we do have to look at the other side of the story…..I will tell you a personal story that will give you some perspective on who this Josh boy really is…

    I have an older brother in jail and while visiting I got to know about Josh’s story and the crime he committed..I must say I could not believe that the boy that was in front of me had done what he did. He was I’d say around 15 years old at the time..He seemed more like he was 10 years old instead. He hugged his mother and dad and they kissed him on the cheek and watched cartoons and sat so close together every weekend during visits…sadly his father passed away in a car accident while visiting his son! So tragic..It’s true that everyone has to pay for what they’ve done and I would say that Josh has already payed for what he’s done with the death of his father. It breaks my heart to know that people only see one side of the story…God gave us hearts with which we can love , feel pain but let us not forget that with those hearts we must learn to forgive and give others a second chance at life.

    They have given him a life sentence, but this is almost a crime in itself, he is a salvageable human being who in my heart deserves a second chance. Both sides of the story make me so sad beyond words…let us not judge others so quickly and use our god given hearts.

  26. I really hope he does get parole. I wrote to Josh and he’s practicing ministry. I think if he gets the chnace to live his life outside of prison, he will try his hardest to make up for what he did.

  27. Well yes this was a really tragic death but seriously? I honestly do not feel that he needs to be in prison for life! he deserves a second chance and I really do believe that he would try to make up for what he did. Not only does my heart go out to Maddie but it also goes out to Josh for all the days that he has spent in prison, and for all the days he will spend in prison. Each day I will pray for Maddie’s family and for josh and his mother. Gosh I mean he is like 25-26 years old now, he has suffered enough. If there was a way I could help him I would. And of course his mother would want his sentence reduced, that’s what most mothers want. Because mothers don’t always see that criminal in their child, they see the same little boy/girl that they gave birth to. Si I do not blame Josh’s mother for wanting his sentenced reduced, and besides his mother is all he has, and God forbid who knows how much time she has left to live her life, and when she’s gone he has nobody else. You have to let people prove themselves! R.I.P. Maddie Clifton

  28. I wish I could help out Maddie’s family!

  29. His dad was a huge person he had a bad temper Josh was scared of him the dad Steve had strict rules for Josh he was’nt allowed to have friends over unless the parents are home that’s why he killed Maddie Josh’s mom blames dad for everything that happend i do too but still Josh is a fucking baby killing an innocent child just because he’s scared of his dad it’s bad enough Eric Smith is in jail poor guy he was bullied just because of how he looked if anyone’s against Eric they’re like Josh pure out stupid Josh is the crazey guy Eric is a very good kid.

  30. I actually feel more sorry for Eric than I do for Josh ( I feel much worst for Maddie and her family) because Eric was bullied and let his parents know that he was about to do something crazy but they ignored him and now little Dylan is dead and Eric is in prison for the rest of his life. Josh on the other hand had a great childhood and was a popular student. But I don’t think either of them deserve to be in prison for the rest of their lives. It’s not right to sentence children as adults.

  31. i feel sorry for Josh.. i know he did something wrong and im sure at the age of fourteen he knew what he was doing .. but dont you think he deserves a second chance?? as a christian i beleive in reform.. im sure that his time in prison he has learned to change himself.. who knows why he killed.. and who knows if he will kill again.. but he knows what its like to be in prison and now he knows what not to do so that he wont end up there.. in my opinion Josh should be set free .. he deserves to have a life.. all his freedom his teen years are gone dont you people think that thats enough he has practically lost his life.. well slightly.. well anyways .. in my opinion we dont have the right to keep him from having a life because he took a life.. he deserves a second chance.. who knows what 14 years has done to sure he has change..people think about how would you feel if you were in prison for the rest of your life.. for being at the wrong place at teh wrong time?? arent we all human?? we all make mistakes??.. yes im very sorry for the loss of the Clifton family..if i was in their position i would probably feel the same way too..but dont they want to move on?.. cant they just forgive? Josh he was 14 when he did that.. to be honest i think that they shouldve know where Maddie was and well not let her go out with people they didnt know or had someone to look after her and be more responsible and surpervised her .. I think Josh already paid the price .. he deserves to live his life.. for no one deserves this .. life in prison??.. it might be easy to tell someone this but to actually have life in prison is hard..i beleive no one deserves it one bit.. hmmmmph.. the only thing they do deserve is a second chance.. this is general people .. anyone who ever did a crime..i mean look at Daniel Petric he shot his parents killed his mother..fortunately his father recovered and his family forgave him for what he had done.. and now they can move on..well when they forgave him.. cant people just do that?? i know it might be hard but you’d be a whole lot happier when you do.. the only person that can judge us is God.
    Back to Joshua well i think you now what i just wanna say is that he should be free.. i mean his parents are probably well you know want him to be back and well Josh cant have a family since he is in prison and how would you feel if you were in his shoes??still being punished for what you did a long time ago..
    anyways..oh and i heard of Josh when i was watching E! 15 too young to kill… and again i think he should be set free or at least be tagged or curfewes or something .. just to have a life while he still has .. the dudes nearly in his 30’s and i just feel sorry for him..
    thanks for reading this and i hope you’ll think about Josh and what hes been through for what he’d done and if its right?? if its justified?? .. i still beleieve he deserved a second chance..everyone does..Matthew 18:21-22 ..Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
    Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times..

    • Jess,

      While you have good points, remember, not everyone is Christian, so they do not think about this the same way. And the courts and parole system should not rely on religion or religious beliefs for parole consideration. If Josh has made a good turn around while in prison and has rehabilitated and is fit for society, that is up to the parole board. If you feel strongly, send them a letter.

      And for the record, I am not against people’s opinions being based on religious views, however, I do not believe the Courts or parole boards should use that for consideration in guilt, sentencing or parole. Church and State should be separate, not merged. My personal beliefs do know that people who truly believe in their beliefs and follow them make them better people overall. It helps a person to have a better and happier life, no matter what they believe. But I do not want those who are not Christian or have no religious beliefs to feel animosity here or that their feelings and beliefs are not valid either. They are.

      And as for forgive, do not judge those who cannot forgive. Unless you are in the same position, you don’t know how it feels. That I can personally say. No matter my personal beliefs, I do not hate the person who killed my mother or sister-in-law, but I can’t say I forgive them. And it has been more than 25 years for both. I am tired of being lectured to about needing to forgive. If I do, it will be in my own way and my own time.

  32. i know how you feel mylifeofcrime well slightly.. you still have that feeling of you know dislike for the person..there are times when i feel that way too.. its just have you ever thought off being in that persons shoes?? like what was their point of doing it why they did it?? and there mustve been some good reason..
    even though some people arent christians .. wouldnt they have the slight guilt or think about that person how they’d feel being in that persons shoes..
    i dont feel that strongly about it .. i just think about people in that way and justice.. i believe that he paid his debt and the only person that can judge him is God..
    im not u know stating that i judge those who cant forgive.. all im saying is that it wud be easier to move on if you forgive have that sense of relief nothing to worry about well no grudge and you feel better..
    Josh seems like a nice guy seems .. i dont really know him.. and i dont wanna go into depth but wasnt his dad like really strict.. in my point of view its the parents fault.. also another thing i see is everthing happens for a reason.. and i have no idea what reason that may be but a reason.. hmm..

    • jess,

      I don’t understand most of the beginning of your comments, however, the part about Christians, yes, they can know about guilt and innocence. But you kept talking about how Christians should do this and using bible passages. Please understand that to those who are not Christian or do not believe in the bible, that can be offensive. You said that the only person who can judge him is God, but what about to those who don’t believe in God? That is what I meant. I get a lot of emails complaining about those kinds of comments. I just want everyone to feel welcome and that their views, while differing, are just as valid. To those who want Church and State separate, they do not want God or forgiveness talk in making decision about guilt, sentencing or parole. Our Founding Fathers also wanted Church and State separate.

      And yes I do understand trying to be in someone else’s shoes, however, very rarely do I see any justification for murder (some I have understood – self-defense, etc.). But the murder of a child, never. I cannot see any reason or justification for that. Can you honestly say you see a justification or reason – GOOD REASON – for murdering a child? And I do feel strongly about victims. Very. I am passionate about it. Try being the loved one of a victim. It stays with you forever.

  33. in a way i get how you feel.. But u cant hold that grudge forever.. U know u seem to me like a very pessimistic person.. i dont why but you do.. Wouldnt you want justice if you were in prison for something that had happened like 14 years ago.. And will still be in prison for the rest of your life?? Hmm think about it.. I guess if he stays in prison or if theres a chance that he’ll be on parole there’s a good reason for it..hey i think everything happens for a reason..

    • Actually I am not a pessimistic person at all. However, my focus is on the VICTIMS. A cause I am passionate about.

      I am sorry, but you are talking to the wrong person about this. I rarely have sympathy for murderers, especially cold-blooded murders (which this was). However, if he has changed and has true remorse, that is good. But my focus and compassion is for the victim and their loved ones. Think about this, would you have that kind of compassion for someone who killed your mother or sister? Or grandmother?

  34. p.s im not american so.. I dont care whatsoever if church and state are separate… Im just saying what i believe in.. If you want people to be free to talk about things why are you trying to stop me from talking ’bout my belief/my point of view..??

  35. of course i wouldnt but its not happened to me and hope will not ever.. But i know someday that i would forgive those people so that i can move on..if i dont the only thing its hurting is me if i dont forgive.. And i would just hate that hurt..this is not just to you this is to everyone..

  36. I think it is sad that this kid wasn’t given the justice he deserved. A 14 is not in the right mind to realize the real consequences of murder. Think about when you were young and someone told you a member of your family died, most likely you didn’t fully understand it. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have gotten in trouble for his actions, but look at this kid. Have you read the case? Why would the kid hide the body under his bed??! He knew he would get caught. He was afraid of his father. And if the website his mother wrote is half true than this kids lawyer was a joke.
    Either way it goes you have to get over it. Two lives were taken, Not just the little girls. And the person who asked what if it was my murdered daughter… What if your son did this? What if something was wrong in their head. Normal children don’t kill. Not that it matters much, but this kid had several pets including a dog and several birds that he liked very much. Killers tend to kill animals when they are young, not befriend and take care of them. There is a missing key to this story and i hope this guy gets a chance. LIFE IN PRISON SENTENCED AT 15 YEARS OLD. What a horrible mistake this kid made. Look at the pictures of him look in his eye, he is NOT evil

  37. to mylifeofcrime: Josh was a victim too. Think about it.

    • He is an indirect victim, but not the kind of victim I was talking about. I was talking about the victim who is dead, can’t breathe, can’t get married, can’t have children, etc. And that victim’s family and friends. If someone were to tell me that my mother’s killer was also a victim, I would be greatly offended.

  38. to mylifeofcrime: .. hmmm is right.. josh is a victim here too .. josh now cant get married or hae children since he is in prison.. he has lost all his freedom.. he deserves to be on parole at least.. everyone deserves a second chance..

    • While maybe Josh deserves a second chance, do you really believe EVERYONE deserves a second chance? Would you give Charles Manson another chance? Or any of those who killed Channon Christian and Chris Newsom? Or any serial killer or child predator? Don’t say it is not the same thing, because I am responding NOT to Josh’s crime, but YOUR statement that everyone deserves a second chance. Jessie Dotson was given a second chance and look what happened there. Was that fair?

      And once again, Josh is not the kind of victim I was talking about. He is an ‘indirect’ victim, a victim of himself. You can actually say that about ANY criminal. So, should we let people kill other people, even dozens of people, then just let them back into society? You do know that many times, these people kill again. I am NOT saying Josh will. I do not know about that. I meant the actual victim of these murders, those are the ones that I have the compassion for. Once again, do you expect people to just have more sympathy and compassion for the killers rather than those who were murdered and their loved ones? If you told me that my mother’s killer deserved the compassion and sympathy more than my mother, I cannot guarantee my response. But I guarantee it would not be fit to put on here.

  39. plus we can’t bring maddie back to life.. its done .. that was like 15 years ago.. retribution isnt an option in my point of view.. a life for a life.. that just makes the people who are gonna keep josh in prison for the rest of his life the same as josh ..

  40. I agree with Jess. A life for a life? That may sound fair, but thats like saying two wrongs make a right. I don’t believe that EVERY criminal deserves a second chance but I do believe that Josh does.

    • I do believe in and support the death penalty. And I do believe in life in prison and LWOP. I do not know what State you guys are in, but if you don’t believe in life in prison, LWOP or the death penalty, you need to help change the laws. But the problem with no believing in life in prison means that predators, multiple murderers, serial killers will be out on parole one day and most WILL reoffend, which means more victims. Would you really want that? I seriously doubt that there is any State in our Country that will stop life in prison or LWOP. Would you want any of those offenders out on parole and living next door to you?

  41. All of you have your opinions, but have any of you lost a child or someone you Love by them being murder? I lost my son to murder when he was only 22 years old. On May 30th he would have been 28 and I sit and wonder each day who he would have been today and if he would have been married and had children (my grandchildren). It hurts more than anything I have ever been through in my life. And the thought of the boy that killed my son even breathing makes me sick. Right, wrong or indifferent I can’t help it. This was my son and I will never be able to hold him or tell him that I love him at least Josh mom can do this things even though he is in prison.

    • Selina,

      I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine the loss of a child in any manner. To answer your question, the answer is yes for me. My mother and my sister-in-law. And I agree with what you said. I never knew my sister-in-law, unfortunately. But I think about my mother every single day. She was not there when I graduated high school, got married, need comfort, etc. She did not get to see any grandchild or great grandchild. It is not something people get closure on or ever forget. But I love her and miss her every day.

  42. I am also sorry for your loss Selina. And yes, I have lost a close friend and a family member to murder. A friend of mine was shoot to death by a gang member who only shot him because that was what he had to do to get into a gang. My aunt was murdered by her husband. It hurt losing both of them but over time I was able to forgive and that helped me with my grief. BTW, just because I support Josh, does not mean that I support every crimal out there. I just believe that Josh is a good person who did something very bad.

  43. I can imagine a kid being scared of his parent, scared of getting in trouble. But he didn’t consider Maddie’s fear, her family, himself getting caught. How can a person block out that out? How can he panic THAT much… I think I understand the case better than I did when I was a child, and even so it still does not add up. He may truly understand more, but he speaks and still sounds like doesn’t really understand, there is something missing in him. Rational thinking would realize that his father wasn’t going to kill him for disobeying his rules, which he knew, and yet HE decides to kill? Rational thinking would even be to think again even if he did contemplate. She was still alive before he went in to stab her, it was one more chance and yet a hopeless one because since he had already tried to kill her he would not let her go. It kept getting worse, and he still wanted to take the selfish chance to get away.
    Anyway, this makes me think of that story a few years back of that man that accidently harmed his neighbor so he chopped him up and hid him in his house. Irrational, disgusting, bizarre…Why?

    There are other forms of poor judgement , gambling addictions, staying with an abusive person–which are more complicated and don’t normally end in murder of innocent victims. But this is the kind of panic and recklessness that this 14 year old kid, old enough to know better used to justify murdering this girl, because he didn’t want to get in trouble with his dad?

  44. Sure, the boy claims his father was abrasive, but no form of abuse to a person justifies them harming innocent people for no other reason than fear for themselves.

  45. yall people are soooo harsh and unforgiving!!!GOD forgives ALL and wants us 2 as well!!he was just a boy!!FORGIVE & FORGET!!! i did and wrote him as well!!i also pray 4 his release EVERYDAY as well as 4 his and his familys safety while hes locked up!!!LOVE YA JOSH!!KEEP UR CHIN UP!!!

    • forgive & forget???? Are you serious? How dare you disrespect the victim like that?? Maddie was only 8 years old. She did not deserve this. And now you are saying to forget her. Forget that she was murdered. Josh may have been young, but at 14 people know it is wrong to kill. And it is just as wrong for people to go around telling everyone to forget the victim of this crime. Shame on you. If it was your loved one who was murdered, would you want them to be forgotten??????

  46. Josh Phillips is a fucking scumbag killing Maddie so he wouldn’t get in trouble with his parents whom he disobeyed i hope he gets beaten to death by other inmates hope his cunt mom gets killed in a car accident like his dad.

  47. i feel for maddies family but when youve never been in someone elses shoes you have no room to talk about other people like this. maddie is with god she has no worries an her parents know this to josh was a kid when this happened im not saying he was right by no means but he was a kid god will judge him for his mistakes an his mother is trying to protect her child an what mother wouldnt an saying that his mom should die is no better than what he did

  48. i remember when this happened i was six at the time. i remeber seeing it all over the was a terrible act wat josh did to little maddie. not only did he take away maddie’s life but he took away his and a part of his familys and maddie’s familys also. josh knew better that he shouldnt have done wat he did to her because he hid her body across the street from her family’s house in that water bed knowing wat would happen when he would get caught. i feel very sorry for his mom loosing her sons life in prison for life and finding maddie’s body under her sons bed. and maddie’s family to wat they have went through not knowing if they will ever see there daughter alive again. poor maddie barly just starded living her life. she didnt deseve wat josh did to her. god be with maddie’s family and little maddie also to josh’s family….R.I.P MADDIE 1990-1998

  49. I have watched a program of Josh Phillips, he was 14 at the time I believe he was so frighten by his father and having someone in the house when he’s not home scared josh when he heard his father’s home and Josh did what he did out of fright, I believs Josh has done his time and as an adult is more mature, and I believe givien another chance he wouldn;t do it again.So lets free him, Josh if you read this please email me back, I beleive in you…

    • Beverly,

      He is in prison and does not have Internet access. He would not have any way to email you since he would not have your email address.

      I guess Maddie’s family does not deserve your compassion, huh? Since you did not mention her even once in your statement praising Josh. Yes, I realize he was young, and maybe afraid of his father, but that does NOT justify murdering a child. Maddie had her whole life ahead of her and he stole it. She will not get it back. Her family deserves more than to hear everyone praising Josh.

      My blog is to remember the victims, not the killers. Please have some respect for them. I promise you that if someone murdered your loved one, you would not be trying to get the killer released and forgetting your loved one. Have compassion for the victims and their loved ones.

  50. I feel for Maddies family She is now an angel watching from heaven. He eyes are so pure and i am sure she has forgiven Joshua. We all need to talk to the creator up above and leave everything in his hands. This is the Law yes but we all have to learn to forgive. Forgivness is the greatest gift. I have lost people closer to me than anyone could imagine but if i go on hate and hoping for people to rot in jail i will be hurting my soul. Maddis mother is an amazing women for realizing that No humen is perfect and that some day Josh should get the chance to come out and give back to the community. God is good and he will hold both families because two lives were lost unfortuanlly one will never return but she is with God and happier then anyone of us here living in a world full of greed and hate. prayers to the Cliftons and Phillips god bless you both

  51. he doesnt deserve to be in jail his whole life!!! he seems like an changed man. i want him to have a second chance. everybody deserves to have a second chance. there are some killers that be realeased and they have not killed anybody since. he doesnt deserve to be there anymore. im againist his life sentence. the way it was told me it seemed like he did it because he was afraid of his fathers punishment. joshua i hope your sentence is sorry that other people dont see it like i do.

    • What about Maddie? This is a blog to remember the victims, of which Maddie Clifton is the victim here. You did not even bother to mention her. If he gets parole, will she get her life back? If not, then why does he deserve to get his life back? It is so sad that you care more about the killer than the victim. REMEMBER THE VICTIM. REMEMBER MADDIE!

  52. Ive allways thought about this case off and on over the years..its heartbreaking for maddie and her family..but i also believe josh should get 14yr old daughter just talked about 1st she said josh deserved wht he got..after talking with her..pointing out he was her age wen this happened..she did see my point & said yes she thinks he deserves a chance..though it made us both sad looking @ a photo of maddie..of course she didnt deserve this..good luck to them all

  53. Wow – I cannot believe the amount of people crying for this murderer and saying he deserves a chance at “having a life” and that he was just a child too, blah blah blah. This wasn’t just an accident where he panicked and hid her out of fear; he assaulted her repeatedly with a baseball bat, stabbed her multiple times in the neck and head, then stuffed her barely living body under his bed, only to pull her back out, after hearing her moans, to stab her to death in her chest. He slept on that bed for seven days with her corpse beneath him, never showing an ounce of remorse or guilt. Law enforcement also said that after searching his computer, they discovered he had viewed violent pornography around the time of the murder. Her pants had also been pulled down and she was left exposed. That isn’t some youthful mistake, that isn’t some accident that got out of hand; that’s cold blooded murder. He didn’t seem sad or remorseful when police interviewed him before or after the body was discovered – that only happened after years in prison. On top of all that, the only “evidence” we have about exactly why or how the crime occurred is from the murderer himself; it’s astonishing to me that so many people will just take that at face value, despite the fact that his story is full of holes, and his actions and what he did to poor Maddie contradict what he’s said. He injured her, then dragged her into his home, murdered her in a horrific and agonizing way, hid the evidence and her body, and then lied to everyone repeatedly while pretending to care about her. That is cold, calculating, and manipulative. It screams “budding psychopath”.

    Psychopathy can show up and has been documented in children Josh’s age or younger, and there is NO cure for it. I am sure he acts remorseful as much as he can – by now he has learned how to feign what emotions he believes are appropriate for him to be able to manipulate others and boost his chances at getting a shot at parole. Psychopaths are good, and they can fool many people, including professionals; it’s one of the major components of their mental composition. He is right where he belongs. If our justice system decides they were wrong in his sentencing, then his case will be reviewed and the courts will decide. Religion and pity have no business being involved in any of it. Like this site’s owner has said repeatedly: we have separation of church and state in this country for a reason, not everyone is Christian, and the Bible has about as much relevance to this case as ‘The Joy of Cooking’ does: which is NONE at all.

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